Rankin and Taylor

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Rankin & Taylor
Ranking and Taylor Logo.jpeg
Headquarters 11 Park Place, Suite 914
New York, NY
Major practice areas Civil Rights, Criminal Defense
Rankin & Taylor

Rankin & Taylor is a civil rights and criminal defense law practice that was founded in 2008. The firm has represented clients in First Amendment and Police misconduct cases, and numerous Critical Mass cyclists in both civil and criminal cases. The firm's founding parters are cyclists[1] and members of the National Lawyers Guild.


The firm was founded in 2008 by attorneys David B. Rankin and Mark C. Taylor, "two former Portland, Ore., bike messengers who kept their passion for biking after moving into the law."[1] They met as undergraduates at Reed College.

Civil rights and First Amendment litigation[edit]

The firm has worked on some notable Federal Civil Rights and First Amendment cases, and Rankin occasionally comments on civil rights issues for the New York Times[2] and other news media.[3][4]

For example, the firm represented Tad Hirsch, creator of the TXTMob messaging service.[5] Protestors used TXTmob to organize events during the 2004 Republican National Convention. When the New York City Law Department subpoenaed Hirsch's TXTmob records, Rankin argued that the subpoena was "vague" and "overbroad."[5] They further claimed that disclosing the information about TXTmob users who had nothing to do with lawsuits would violate their First Amendment and privacy rights.[5]

In 2010, the firm represented Said Hajem in a discrimination lawsuit against the NYPD.[6] The firm argued that the NYPD's refusal to hire Hajem, despite his high scores on the police entrance exam was discrimination.[6]

In 2011, the firm represented Sojourner Hardeman in a federal civil rights lawsuit against the NYPD.[7] Hardeman had been arrested numerous times for panhandling on Fifth Avenue. The firm argued that the arrests for disorderly conduct were without probable cause, and violated Hardeman’s constitutional rights.[7] In a judge-approved stipulation, the NYPD agreed not to arrest her without probable cause. The stipulation was described by the NY Times as “something of a feat.”[7]

The firm has also represented individuals in police misconduct lawsuits against the NYPD.[8][9]

Bicycling and freedom of assembly[edit]

The firm's attorneys are cyclists and advocates for safer cycling in New York City.[1][10] Rankin, along with Gideon Oliver (The Law Firm of Gideon Oliver) and Rose Weber (a solo practitioner), represented Critical Mass cyclists in a lawsuit against the New York City, alleging unlawful arrests.[11] In 2010, the lawsuit led to a $965,000 payment from the city to the cyclists.[11][12] This settlement figure did not include the many lawsuits filed by cyclists arrested during the Republican National Convention in 2004.[11]

The 2010 settlement came after the firm's participation in years of legal battles between cyclists and the NYPD.[13][14][15][16][17] The firm represented Christopher Long, the cyclist assaulted by police officer Patrick Pogan during a 2008 Critical Mass bicycle ride.[18][19][20] The video of the assault "became a viral presence on the Internet." [21][22] In a 2011 case, the firm's attorneys, along with civil rights lawyer Gideon Oliver of the law firm of Gideon Oliver,[23] brought a class action suit on behalf of cyclists who have been improperly ticketed for "riding outside of the bike lane."[1][24][25]

Rankin and Taylor are members of the National Lawyers Guild, a civil rights organization, and work with other National Lawyers Guild attorneys on mass-arrest cases.[26] For example, the firm worked with the National Lawyers Guild on mass-defense strategies for Occupy Wall Street protestors at Zuccotti Park.[27] In representing some of the 900 people arrested during the Occupy Wall Street protests, the firm worked with civil rights attorneys like Martin R. Stolar (of the law firm Martin Stolar) and Rebecca Heinegg (of the New York Law Collective).[28][29] In addition, Taylor challenged the NYPD's use of barricades to pen in protestors.[30] Taylor has served as vice president of the NYC Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild.[31]

Freedom of Information law[edit]

The firm has represented clients in Freedom of Information Law litigation. For example, Taylor and Paula Z. Segal (of Rankin & Taylor) represented clients seeking information about the closure of Chase Plaza in downtown Manhattan, a formerly public space.[32][33] Rankin and Taylor have worked to both unseal the names and records of bodies buried in New York City's Hart Island,[34][35] and to increase access to the graves.[36][37]


  1. ^ a b c d Goodman, J. David (19 August 2011). "A New Breed of Lawyers Focuses on Bicyclists' Rights". New York Times. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  2. ^ "City Is No Longer Reporting the Costs of Its Settlements of Federal Cases". New York Times. 10 December 2012. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  3. ^ Coscarelli, Joe (10 December 2012). "NYPD Settlements Now a Bit More Secretive". New York magazine. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  4. ^ Robbins, Christopher (9 August 2012). "Here's How To Avoid A Ticket For Drinking In Public". Gothamist. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c Moynihan, Colin (30 March 2008). "City Subpoenas Creator of Text Messaging Code". New York Times. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  6. ^ a b Moynihan, Colin (1 March 2010). "Lawsuit by Moroccan-American Muslim Accuses Police of Bias in Hiring". New York Times. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c Moynihan, Colin (29 August 2011). "After Panhandler Says Police Harassed Her, a Judge Tells Them to Stop". New York Times. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  8. ^ Fanelli, James (29 August 2010). "NYPD Civil Rights Cases: City Shells Out $22 Million To Settle Lawsuits Against NYC's Finest". Huffington Post. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  9. ^ Stumpf, Melisa (26 July 2012). "Sunset Park teen charges he was roughed up by cop". Brooklyn Spectator. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  10. ^ Pound, Eliza (4 July 2012). "Valet Bike Parking and Brooklyn Brews". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  11. ^ a b c Dotty, Cate (18 October 2010). "Bike Riders in New York Win Settlement". New York Times. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  12. ^ Amateau, Albert (22 November 2010). "Critical Mass of Cash for 83 Arrested Bicyclists". The Villager. Retrieved 16 January 2013. 
  13. ^ Barron, James (4 August 2008). "Police and a Cyclists' Group, and Four Years of Clashes". New York Times. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  14. ^ Barron, James (29 July 2008). "Officer Investigated in Toppling of Cyclist". New York Times. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  15. ^ O'Gilfoil Healy, Patrick (30 June 2005). "Critical Mass Bicyclist Acquitted". New York Times. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  16. ^ Healy, Patrick (30 June 2005). "Critical Mass Bicyclist Acquitted". NYTimes. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  17. ^ Siegel, Jefferson (1 March 2006). "Police may be backpedaling from crackdown on cyclists". The Villager. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  18. ^ Lemire, Jonathan (15 December 2008). "Cop who shoved Critical Mass biker ready to face assault charge". NY Daily News. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  19. ^ Ross, Barbara (17 December 2008). "Indicted Bike-slam cop faces tour de prison". NY Daily News. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  20. ^ El-Ghobashy, Tamer (29 July 2008). "Rookie cop in hot water after video shows him slamming biker". NY Daily News. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  21. ^ Eligon, John (4 September 2008). "Charges Said to Be Voided for Bicyclist". NY Times. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  22. ^ Eligon, John (29 April 2010). "Ex-Officer Convicted of Lying About Confrontation with Cyclist". NYTimes. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  23. ^ [1]
  24. ^ Del Signore, John (25 May 2011). "NYPD's Cyclist Ticket Blitz Booms, Class Action Lawsuit Looms". Gothamist. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  25. ^ Sutton, Benjamin (8 June 2011). "Taking Cops to Court Over Pseudo Bike Laws". The L Magazine. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  26. ^ Caher, John (18 October 2011). "Guild Attorneys Seek Dismissal of 'Occupy Wall Street' Arrests". New York Law Journal. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  27. ^ "2012 Occupy Timeline" (PDF). NLG New York City News. Fall 2012. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  28. ^ Dolmetsch, Chris (3 November 2011). "NYC 'Occupy Wall Street' Protesters Seek Trials". Bloomberg. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  29. ^ Grant, Drew (26 October 2011). "Over 800 Occupy Protesters Charged, But How Many Will Go to Court?". New York Observer. Retrieved 16 January 2013. 
  30. ^ Moynihan, Colin (30 April 2012). "Protesters Accuse Police of Improperly Using Barricades". New York Times. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  31. ^ Lennard, Natasha (15 June 2010). "A Summons for the Commissioner". New York Times. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  32. ^ Moynihan, Colin (4 July 2012). "Suit Seeks Plans for Closed Public Plaza as Owner's Motives Are Questioned". New York Times. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  33. ^ Pinto, Nick (16 March 2012). "Fences Are Still Up -- What's Going On At Chase Manhattan Plaza?". Village Voice. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  34. ^ Chan, Sewell (26 November 2007). "Searching for Names on an Island of Graves". New York Times. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  35. ^ Buckley, Cara (24 March 2008). "Finding Names for Hart Island's Forgotten". New York Times. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  36. ^ Rojas, Marcela (22 December 2012). "N.Y. doctor sues for right to visit stillborn's grave". USA Today. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  37. ^ Marsh, Julia (22 December 2012). "Stillborn-tot mom's Potter's Field suit". New York Post. Retrieved 26 December 2012.